Pomade 101: A Comprehensive Guide to the Different Types of Hair Styling Pomade

Pomade 101: A Comprehensive Guide to the Different Types of Hair Styling Pomade

A Comprehensive Guide to the Different Types of Hair Styling Pomade

Looking to learn more about pomade? Wondering how it can fit your grooming routine? You’ve come to the right blog. 

With so many different types of pomades in the market, it may be tempting to just buy whichever smells good on the shelf; and while that’s a convenient way to cop a jar on-the-go, it’s not really efficient, especially if you end up buying a variant that doesn’t work well on your hair. 

We’ve heard countless horror stories of friends wasting their hard-earned money on a hair product that looked or smelled good on the get-go, but didn’t give the hold or shine that they wanted. To avoid this, it’s important to distinguish the different types of hair pomade; and in this blog we shall do exactly that. 

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First of all, what is pomade?

Pomade is a styling product used to shape your hair into a particular style or give it a shine. Unlike hair wax or hair gel, pomade is not as popular, but the irony in this is that pomades have been existing for centuries - long before hair wax and hair gel were a thing.

As hairstyles like the pompadour and quiff went back into style, so did the use of pomade. Today, pomade is increasingly gaining popularity. It’s only a matter of time before they once again become a mainstay in hair styling.


What are the different types of pomade?

Oil-based Pomade

Oil-based Pomades are the more traditional version of pomades. They have been around for quite some time now. Most oil-based pomades are made with petroleum, beeswax, and other ingredients such as fragrance or vitamins. 



Their main selling point is infinite moldability. Since oil-based pomades are not water soluble, they tend to stick to your hair all-day without drying, allowing you to constantly re-style without the need to apply more product. In fact, some people purposely leave some product on their hair at night so that the next day they would only need to apply a small amount (Read More: A Brief Guide to Buildup with Oil-based Pomades). 

Oil-based pomades are also the go-to product of those who want to achieve shiny hairstyles. Petroleum is a very shiny substance, and when applied to the hair it produces a noticeable layer of shine. While this may be a turn-off for some, in the early 20th century shiny hair was a thing! If you’re into the classic look, then oil-based pomades are for you.



This goes without saying that oil-based pomades have their own disadvantages. Firstly, since they are not water-soluble, they are not easy to rinse out. If you do not wish to have residue of pomade left in your hair, then you might not enjoy using this type of pomade.

Secondly, oil-based pomades carry a higher potential for acne. The ingredients in oil-based pomades are notorious for clogging pores and causing inflammatory breakouts. Therefore, extra care should be taken when using oil-based pomades.

The good news is that oil-based pomades are the most affordable pomades out there. Coupled with the fact that you can use them sparingly, these products will certainly give you your money’s worth.

TL;DR: cop an oil-based pomade if you:

  1. are on a tight budget.
  2. are a fan of shiny hairstyles.
  3. don’t mind having residual pomade on your hair most of the time (even after washing).

If you think oil-based pomades are for you, then you should check out our best-selling oil-based pomades below:







Orthodox Water-based / Water-based Pomade

Orthodox water-based pomades or simply water-based pomades are a more user-friendly alternative to oil-based pomades, but unlike the former, the latter has a much more complicated anatomy. The main ingredient for water-based pomades is, as the name suggests, water. Other than that, most water-based formulations contain oils, emulsifiers, preservatives, and other chemicals that help “condition” water to make it more suitable for hair application (thickeners, humectants, etc.). Sometimes, they are also called “gel-type” pomades because they look and perform similar to hair gels. 



The main thing about water-based pomades is their effortless washability. They’re designed to allow you to achieve similar looks and holds to oil-based pomades, but they wash out easily as they are water soluble. 

As an added point, we’ve always found this type of pomade to be aesthetically pleasing as they are mostly translucent substances that emit a bright color. If any, water-based pomades remind me of gelatin! 



Setting aside washability and aesthetics, this type of pomade does have its own disadvantages. 

Firstly, water-based pomades have the reputation for having harsh, complex, and unhealthy ingredients. For instance, propylene glycol, a common ingredient in water-based formulations, is said to cause scalp irritation. 

Secondly, water-based pomades are more difficult to re-style than oil-based pomades. As they are water soluble, they usually dry up and harden hours after application, which means that you would need to wet your hair if you want to re-style. If you do not want your hair to feel as stiff as a rock, then water-based pomades are not for you. 

Generally, water-based pomades are pricier than oil-based pomades, and this is not surprising considering its more complex anatomy. 

TL;DR: cop an water-based pomade if you:

  1. don’t mind paying extra for a product that makes washout a walk in the park.
  2. don’t mind putting controversial ingredients on your hair.


Unorthodox Water-Based Pomade

Modern-day men’s grooming is dominated by the so-called unorthodox water-based pomades, but what are they? To put it simply, an unorthodox water-based pomade is literally an oil-based pomade and water-based pomade in one. It is made with a mix of oil-based and water-based pomade ingredients, achieving a product that offers all-day restylability while also being easy to wash out. They usually have a cream-like consistency reminiscent of lotion. 



Unorthodox water-based pomades are our personal favorite because we believe they are the most versatile. Some days you may want to sport a demanding hairstyle; other days you just want to keep it casual. Unorthodox water-based pomades have got you covered.



Here’s a caveat though: As with any hybrid product, don’t expect them to be perfect on both sides of the spectrum. Unorthodox water-based pomades are not as easy to wash off as purely water-based pomades since the formulation is partly oil-based. In the same manner, they are not as restylable as purely oil-based pomades since the formulation has some water in it. Still, it cannot be denied that unorthodox water-based pomades are reliable hair products that do the job for people who aren’t picky on the details and are simply looking for a product that will make their hair stay put.

Unorthodox water-based pomades are perhaps the most expensive pomades in the market, but that’s justifiable since they provide the best of both worlds. 

TL;DR: cop an unorthodox water-based pomade if you:

  1. like both oil-based and water-based and can’t decide which one to get.
  2. don’t mind paying extra for a product that works just fine in any kind of application.


If the idea of owning a “hybrid” hair product excites you, then you should check out our lineup of premium Unorthodox Water-Based pomades below:




Which type of pomade is right for you?

Ultimately, your choice of pomade depends on many factors - your lifestyle, your hair type, and most importantly, your personal preference. All in all, each type of pomade has its own pros and cons, so it’s really up to you to decide which one suits your needs best. Regardless, let’s summarize the points to make decision-making easier for you:






> Classic

> Petroleum or Petrolatum is main ingredient

> Superior shine due to the oil

> Restylability - doesn’t harden up in your hair, sticks to your hair all day 

> Does not go off with one wash because oil is not water soluble. This can be a pro for others though. 

> Can activate acne breakout for people with sensitive skin. 


> Gel-type

> Water is the main ingredient

> Hardens up in your hair

> Superior hold due to the hardening factor of the gel 

> Goes off with one wash.

> Difficult to restyle also due to the hardening factor; may need to re-wet your hair in order to restyle

> Has a reputation for having harsh, complex, and unhealthy ingredients. 

Unorthodox Water-Based

> Mixes elements from oil-based and water-based pomade, getting the best out of both worlds. 

> Growing increasingly popular

> Provides shine and hold, while being easy to apply and wash out.

> Not as easy to wash off as water-based since the mixture is not entirely water soluble.
> More expensive to manufacture as it requires more reagents (e.g. emulsifiers)


Whether it’s oil-based or unorthodox water-based, The Maverick has got you covered. We offer a wide assortment of hair styling products for the modern gentleman. We take pride in being a local brand that offers products handcrafted with love and made in small batches. If you’re looking for quality products with impeccable craftsmanship, you’ve come to the right place.


Click here to shop our wide assortment of hair styling pomades.

Still can’t decide? Click here to shop our styling bundles.